Ryan Dempster to Start Game 1 & More Playoff Roster Contstruction

Ryan Freaking Dempster.

Ryan Dempster has been named the starter for Game 1 of the 2008 NLDS. Wow. Let's let this sink in, folks. Ryan Dempster. You know...Ryan DUmpster...Cubs closer that we all wanted to run out of town? What happened to this guy? Ryan Dempster-the dude running up mountains in Spring Training while we all severely doubted he'd even break camp with a spot in the rotation. Ryan Dempster...comedian.

Now...Ryan Dempster, All Star. Ryan Dempster, the #1 starter on the #1 team in the National League. Pretty amazing. Congrats to Dempster. The guy worked his ass off for this and deserves every bit of it. Word is he'll probably be re-signing with the club after this year as a bit of a thank you to the organization for sticking with him. I truly hope that he does. It's guys like Dempster that make me proud to be a fan of the Chicago Cubs.

Moving on to some other notes:
  • With Dempster locked in as the #1 starter when the Cubs begin the playoffs against either the Mets (my vote in the poll-we own them), Dodgers, or Phillies, time to figure out how they'll line up at 2-4. We know that the other playoff starters will be Zambrano, Harden, and Lilly. Gordon Wittenmeyer has an article up today speculating on who might slot in where. A lot of this will depend on who the Cubs draw-but I'd personally be comfortable with either Z or Harden at 2, then throw Lilly to break up the righties, then throw whoever's left of Z or Harden. The big question here is-what would happen in Zambrano's crazy head if he were held to the 4th game before he started? For what it's worth, Harden looked good and healthy in going 6 IPs on 98 pitches. Z, on the other hand, needs to chill out. Looking at this "problem," you know what jumps out? The Cubs pitching staff is frigging really, really good.
  • Also in Wittenmeyer's article is a look at the remaining playoff spot battles. Per GDub, the Cubs aren't likely to take my advice and drop DWard in favor of keeping BOTH Micah Hoffpauir and Felix Pie. Personally, I belive they're both way more valuable than Ward. All Ward has is "experience." Big shit. Hoffpauir went 5-5 last night with 2 bombs. In 62 ABs with the Cubs this year, dude's OPS is over 1.000 and he's hitting .387. In 97 ABs Ward is hitting a really lousy .216, carrying a terrible OPS of about .700, and has 1 more HR than Hoffpauir put up last night. Ward's contract is up. He's not likely to be back with the club next year. What do we owe this guy? Nothing. Hoffpauir and Ward are the SAME player...except Hoffpauir is actually good at baseball. Wittenmeyer surmises that Hoffpauir's performance last night may have sewed up the final bench spot and thinks that Pie will continue his season of frustration watching the playoffs on TV.
  • Wittenmeyer says the last bullpen spot will be down to 2 of 3 of Bob Howry, Chad Gaudin, and Jeff Samardzija. I'm not sure I'd want to have to make this decision myself. I could see it breaking in any combo. I'll raise my suggestion again though-drop Marquis like a bad habit and let them all on. For what it's worth, Gaudin says he's 100% healthy.
  • Bruce Miles weighs in with his opinions and knowledge on the playoff roster makeup. Per Miles, Lou has stated he'll be keeping everyone on the playoff roster that has been on the team all year. So Miles is going with both Ward and Marquis. (C'mon Lou...do the right thing here. Drop these guys). He had Pie over Hoffpauir for the final bench spot due to his speed and ability to play CF, but that was before Hoffpauir's 11th hour ploy last night to grab the final bench spot (can this knock Ward out...please?). Miles thinks Samardzija is a lock now that he's "found it" again. I do too for the reasons I previously stated about the Cubs belief in Jeff ND as a big game guy. He has the final spot coming down to Gaudin and Howry, with Gaudin getting the nod. Miles goes so far as to say he'd be surprised to see Howry make the roster.
  • I'm not too worried, but here's something to keep an eye on. Both Mark DeRosa (strained calf) and Ronny Cedeno (strained shoulder) are going to miss some time. Hopefully this is more of DeRosa needing rest and the Cubs trying to cover for not starting their regulars as the Brewers battle for the playoffs and less of a real injury. Cedeno...who cares.

Comment (1)

Lionel

September 26, 2008 at 9:30 AM

Eric Karros was on XM Radio's "The Show" with Rob Dibble and Kevin Kennedy yesterday. Among the topics discussed was the Cubs rotation for the playoffs, specifically el Toro (Carlos Zambrano, for those who can't keep up with his nicknames). Karros was of the opinion that you didn't want to pitch Z in Game 1 because he would get too amped up and put an enormous amount of pressure on himself. But, he said that it would be much, much better to throw him at Wrigley than on the road, because that would minimize the distractions and keep his juices at the peak level without spilling over.